welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: a white house meeting for survivors of school shootings, president trump hears the anger of family members. it doesn't make sense of. fix it. it should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it! meanwhile, survivors of last week's high school massacre, protest in florida, after the state refuses to discuss gun control. the head of the un demands an immediate end to fighting in the syrian enclave of eastern ghouta, calling it "hell on earth". psychiatrists welcome a new review of scientific evidence that says anti—depressant drugs do work after all. the campaign for gun controls in response to the florida school
shooting has produced some extraordinary scenes. in tallahassee, the state capitol, students gathered to demand ‘never again‘ — and tough restrictions on weapons sales. then at the white house, president trump convened a televised ‘listening session‘ where survivors and their families spoke of their anguish. we‘ll have more on some of those powerful statements in a few moments. first, jon sopel reports from tallahassee. a school trip like no other. these students from marjory stoneman douglas high school haven‘t come to the florida state capitol to listen. they‘ve come to speak and demand change after 17 of their classmates and teachers were killed last week. (chanting) and they are determined to be heard. no—one needs these weapons that are taking children‘s lives. they should just ban them because all they are used for is destruction and they‘re just not needed. you should go to school feeling
safe and be confident that you're there for an education and a bright future, you're not here to not worry about getting shot. chanting: never again! neveragain! the students werejoined by thousands of others from across the state — noisy, determined and emboldened. chanting: hey-hey, ho-ho, the nra has got to go! the streets are literally echoing to the sound of these young people demanding gun control. but last night, state legislators voted against even opening a debate on semiautomatic weapons. the fight for gun control is going to be an uphill struggle. chanting: this is what democracy looks like! but that decision not even to debate guns in the state assembly has infuriated pupils, teachers and community leaders alike. i have buried personally in the last four days, three kids from my congregation. i watched a father want to climb into the mausoleum with his son. i watched a mother curled up in a ball and refusing to come out for the family for the funeral.
then they have the gall not even to discuss the issue, we are very upset. from the white house, small but significant signs of movement and the president has been meeting students and teachers, from notjust the most recent massacre in florida, but from other shootings as well. we aer going to be very strong on background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody, and we are going to do plenty of other things. this heartfelt plea from one of the parents. we can‘t forget about this. all these school shootings. it doesn‘t make sense. fix it. it should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it! and i am (bleep)! because my daughter i‘m not going to see again!
these students have captured public attention with their demand for change, but it is a tough journey and winning support is a different thing to winning reform. let‘s cross now to washington and speak to our correspondent david willis. we will only know in the days and weeks to come what impact, if any, this has happened. there was a raw and powerful emotion on display and direct to the president. absolutely right, the president‘s face in the white house today. passionate speeches on behalf of parents and stu d e nts speeches on behalf of parents and students and this gathering brought together about a0 parents, students and school officials from not only the florida high school, where the attack took place, but also from columbine and sandy hook, two places that have gone down in american history for their grim history as far as shootings of this kind are
concerned. president trump seemed visibly moved at times like the accou nts visibly moved at times like the accounts that he listened to, including that from one people, sam zeif, who lost a close friend in the florida shooting last week. this is what he had to say. i turned 18 the day after, what up to the news that my best friend was born. —— woke up. and i don't understand why i can still go in store and buy a weapon of war. and ar. i was reading today that the person 20 assault walked into a store and bought a gun with an expired at ide and walked out in 15 minutes. how is it that easy? how do we not stop this after columbine, after macro to one —— after sandy
hook? i am sitting with a mother who has lost her son. it is still happening. after that emotional exchange from sam zeif, president trump said that he endorsed the possibility of arming teachers and other members of school staff. he said that it took on average between five and eight minutes for so—called first responders to reach the scene ofa first responders to reach the scene of a school shooting. he said that by carefully arming the certain staff, that could be cut down and presumably death tolls could be cut down to two in these sorts of cases. he called for an end to gun free zones in america and around schools, this is what president trump had to say. a good thing about a suggestion like that, we will be looking at very strongly and i think a lot of people will be opposed to it and a lot of people will like it. the good thing is you will have a lot of people with that, you can't have 100
security guards in stone and the will is —— stoneman douglas. that is a massive school with a lot of acreage to cover. a lot of floor area, that would be a situation that is being discussed by a lot of people. you have a lot of people that could be armed, professionals, they may be marines that with the marines, left the army, left the air force. he conceded that arming teachers was a controversial proposal and that proposal was countered by and then called mark barton, who lost his son in the sandy hook massacre five years ago. his wife is a teacher and this is what he had to say. school teachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have to have the also responsibility of lethal force to take a life. thank you. nobody wants to see a shootout in a school and a deranged
sociopath on his way to the net and act of murder in the school, knowing the outcome is going to be suicide will not care for somebody with a gun. even if there is movement on this statement, so much depends on congress, which locked all of president 0bama‘s attempts on an control and even though the president is turning oscillatory, the responses he has, it —— has come up the responses he has, it —— has come up with is what the gun lobby has coming up with. the answer to violence is more guns? yes, we have initiatives on the part of the president which seem to be looking at some curbs, for example, tighter break down checks. —— at ground checks. —— background. he said he will also be try to curb bump stocks, turning semiautomatics into
machine—guns. the banning of those. today he seems to be saying the solution to the shooting epidemic here is not fewer guns, but more. he also suggested that he might be in favour of raising the minimum age by which somebody here can buy a semi— assault rifle to 21. it is currently 18, you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. but the nra was swift to condemn that possibility and indeed thatis condemn that possibility and indeed that is the problem here. the strength of the national rifle association, which is thought to have contributed more than $30 million to donald trump‘s presidential campaign at a time where a majority two to one of americans favour tighter gun control laws, the polls suggest. thank you very much for that. the un security council is being urged to consider a resolution which calls for a thirty—day ceasefire in syria. the un secretary general has demanded an immediate end
to fighting in the syrian rebel—enclave of eastern ghouta, describing it as a "hell on earth". more than 300 people have died there since sunday in government—led air strikes. here is some strong reaction from the office of the high commissioner for human rights. the high commissioner for human rights is talking about this being a monstrous campaign of annihilation of eastern ghouta, with no regard for civilian lives. how many more children dying do we have to see? how many more hospitals bombed? how many more doctors killed do we have to see before the international committee can come together with one voice and take resolute action on the situation in syria to bring this violence to an end? 0ur middle east editor jeremy bowen has more. the syrians deny targeting civilians in eastern ghouta. explosions. these, they say, are precision strikes against artillery
that has hit central damascus. screaming. but the evidence from inside the enclave is that civilians are getting hurt and dying. the suffering of civilians could have a political effect, putting pressure on the rebel groups in eastern ghouta to make a deal. the lives of their children against strategic frontline territory near central damascus that the regime wants to get back. this activist says helicopters are hovering over us here in eastern ghouta. "god help us, we‘re being exterminated." i was able to cross from government—controlled damascus to eastern ghouta several times at the beginning of the war. even then, it was very badly damaged by regime bombing. morale among the rebels was high and dozens of young men were joining what they believed was a revolution.
what do you think will happen to assad? killed. must be killed. when the war started, the regime was under severe pressure. it lost control of a crescent of suburbs around damascus. eastern ghouta is the last of them that has not surrendered. in 2013, eastern ghouta was hit by a chemical attack that killed hundreds. the americans threatened a military strike against the regime and then decided against it. it was a turning point in the war. after that, the regime lost its fear of western intervention. in september 2015, russia intervened, decisively, on assad‘s side. now, he‘s more secure and he‘s emboldened, more so than at any time since the war started. and the russians are becoming the dominant foreign power in the middle east. in northern syria, the president has just sent militia men
to join a fight against a turkish incursion. he wouldn‘t have the confidence to move against a nato power without the russians. and it suggests he won‘t listen to foreign condemnation of the attack on eastern ghouta. jeremie bowen, bbc news. a wide—ranging study led by researchers at the university of oxford counters suggestions that anti—depressa nt medicines can be ineffective. their in—depth analysis of 21 drugs showed they all helped patients manage their condition. andrew plant reports. they are one of the most commonly used drugs in the world, with millions of prescriptions for antidepressants given out every year. but for years, there‘s been debate and doubt over how effective they really are. now, the university of oxford has analysed the data on a huge scale and says every one of the 21 drugs they looked at did help patients to manage their depression. we found that almost,
the most commonly described antidepressants work for major depression, and people with moderate to severe depression, and also, we found that some of them are more effective than others or better tolerated than others. many who take antidepressants say there‘s still a stigma attached to using the medication. when i first started taking them, the first question i was asked was, "oh, well, when are you going to come off them? when do you — do you just expect to take them — are you just going to take them for a short amount of time?" and it doesn‘t really work like that. you wouldn‘t say to a diabetic, you know, "when are you going to wean yourself off insulin?" so i think that there‘s — people need to sort of realise that the benefits — it‘s an ongoing thing. the study ranked the drugs according to how effective they were, which could help doctors pick the right prescriptions for their patients. andrew plant, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news.
still to come: it‘s a long way down and across. huge crowds celebrate lunar new year with a walk across the world‘s longest glass suspension bridge. this is the last time the public will see this pope, very soon for the sake of the credibility and authority of the next pope. benedict xvi will — in his own words — be hidden from the world for the rest of his life. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: in an emotional confrontation at the white house, several school shooting survivors have urged president trump to tighten gun control. let‘s stay with that story now. earlier, i spoke to christopher ingraham, a journalist with the washington post. i pointed out that it wasn‘t often
we saw mr trump simply listening. yes, this is a president, he is not known for listening as he is for talking. the sight of him sitting there, listening to the survivors and families of survivors going around and venting their anger and grief and sadness, it was really quite a performance. it‘s not something you see every day from this white house. what did he make of it and what impact might it have? he made all kinds of promises to gun owners and took huge amounts of money — $31 million from the national rifle association in campaign funds. you‘re absolutely right. the interesting thing from a policy standpoint, the ideas he was most energised by coming out of that meeting was the idea of arming teachers in classrooms, giving them firearms and firearms training and perhaps arming volunteers to go into schools to protect students. that‘s definitely going to be a controversial issue, i think. you ask the american public if they want to see more guns in their schools, and they want to see less. so this is a really odd proposal for fixing school shootings. i talked to a lot of gun researchers
for the work that i do, and when you ask them, how do we stop mass shootings, how do we take a bite out of gun violence, none of them are saying, "we need to put more guns in classrooms." it is a strange idea, but given the president‘s background, his tight connections with the nra, i suppose it is not too surprising. for many republicans, guns, immigration and abortion are just the key issues. for republican lawmakers who really, many of them only really face a challenge from the right. if they look shaky on any of those key issues, they could be out of a job. they could. the interesting thing about this debate here though is that if you poll republicans, you poll even gun owners, many of them are actually
very much in support of a lot of these policies that experts are recommending. universal gun background checks, that we do not have in this country is supported by 97% of american. even something like an assault weapons ban which we have had before and lawmakers have found very controversial, we see something like 67% of the public support that policy, even 53%, more than a majority of gun owning households, support policies like that. so when you see that much public support for these pretty straightforward policies and you compare that with what political leadership coming out of the white house is promoting, this idea of arming teachers in classrooms, it‘s really quite a striking difference and i think that speaks a lot to the power of the nra and these gun lobbying groups that have very close line to the president and leaders in congress. you know that people are not that optimistic given that nothing changed congress, even after sandy hook, all those very
young children killed. how possible is it that president trump, faced with this raw emotion, and these high school students, very articulate and soon—to—be voters, how possible is it that that could be a game changer? well, the difference between now and, say, sandy hook, or some of the other mass shootings that we have seen is now we have both a republican president and a republican congress, and in the name ofjust getting a political win on this issue, you may see those groups come together and say, "0k, we‘ll put in place some sort of modest background check bill and modest ban on something like bump stocks." i would not be surprised to see some kind of movement at the margins of the policies that could affect these issues. whether we‘ll see any larger change, i think that‘s largely going to be a function of who vote both in the coming november, but also in the elections in 2020, and whether these energised young people, whether they can take their energy to the ballot box later this year and beyond. christopher, thank you so much.
the american evangelist, billy graham, has died at the age of 99. he invented a certain kind of stadium preaching and influenced millions, from american presidents to the british queen. 0ur religious affairs editor, martin bashir, looks back on his life and work. the problems that face us tonight that never be solved unless we bring them to the lord jesus christ. charismatic and handsome, billy graham preached a simple message that he took around the world, speaking to more than 220 million people, in 185 countries. london first felt the force of his evangelism in 195a. we‘ve come here at the invitation of these churches to help lead you in a crusade to win into jesus christ. i want you to get up out you have your seat right now. he would lead a17 crusades, often in major sporting stadiums, from new york to nigeria. i don‘t believe anybody is here by accident. he was god.
he was also man. it was at an earl‘s court rally, in1966, that cliff richard publicly declared his christianity. # he‘ll do foryou...#. he was even invited to preach before the queen and other members of the royal family at sandringham, in 198a, and said afterwards that he did not change his message, but simply pointed to jesus. i don‘t actually think we‘ve had somebody who simply says the bible says, the bible says, the bible says and doesn‘t intrude his own ideas into the message. so he‘s being real on message and i don‘t think we‘ve seen anybody of that character, apart from saint paul. his son franklin graham, who‘s also an evangelist, described a recent conversation. i said, "daddy, what do you want on your tombstone?" he thought, he said, "just preacher. " that‘s it. that's it. god loves you. unlike so many american preachers,
billy graham was never caught up in any kind of scandal and insisted that his financial affairs were transparent and audited by others. it was the simplicity of his message and the sincerity of his life that will be his legacy. let‘s head to china now where celebrations for the lunar new year are still taking place. it‘s an opportunity for families to spend time together and enjoy themselves. but in the province of hebei, not farfrom beijing, that enjoyment was for hardier souls only, as the bbc‘s tim allman reports. snaking through the mountains of northern china, for some people, this is their idea of fun. the world‘s longest glass suspension bridge has only been open a matter of weeks. this is the first time it welcomed guests for the lunar new year.
a vertical drop of more than 200 metres. it‘s supposed to represent a dragon flying through the valley. translation: it's like an adventure to me. you look down and you see such a beautiful landscape. translation: it's scary, very scary. it's too high for me. the bridge is four metres wide and made of 1077 glass panels. each one, only four centimetres thick. and the whole thing weighs 70 tons. it‘s designed to take up to 2,000 people at a time, though they only let 500 on just to be safe. thousands turn up every day, even if the climb up can be a little arduous. fun for all of the family, but only the bravest dare look down. tim allman, bbc news. let‘s take a quick look at what‘s happening on day 13 of the winter olympics in south korea, and austria
is celebrating another gold. anna gasser came out on top in the big air snowboarding final. america‘s jamie anderson took silver. to keep up—to—date, go to the bbc sport website. the grime artist, stormzy, has taken two of the top prizes at the brit awards, the biggest annual event for britain‘s music industry. in a controversial closing performance, he attacked prime minister theresa may for her response to the grenfell tower fire disaster. stormzy won best british male solo artist and british album of the year. dua lipa won two awards, including best british female solo artist. there is much more on all of the news on the website. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. i‘m @bbcmikeembley. thank you for watching.
a very cold spell of weather is on the way, it is just a little too early to say whether it‘s going to be particularly exceptional for the end of february and early march but one thing is for sure, it looks like temperatures could struggle to get above freezing, some time next week and there is snow on the way as well, just uncertain exactly how deep and where. but this high pressure continues to build as forecast, from scandinavia across western parts of europe. so the forecast so far is going according to plan. those easterly winds are starting to strengthen and they will keep strengthening as we go over the next few days. by the end of the night, early on thursday morning, not too cold, not at this stage. temperatures in towns and cities
will be around about zero, maybe a little below. outside of town a good frost on the way. in these situations when we get an area of high pressure, there is always a bit of cloud floating around so not everybody is going to get the sunny skies but on balance it is going to be a bright day for most of us and it is starting to feel a little bit colder now. those temperatures will be struggling in the east. four degrees in norwich, briefly during the day. most of the day it will be lower than that. still relatively mild in belfast, around 8 degrees. this is thursday‘s forecast across europe. these are the daytime highs. minus 10 in moscow — the big freeze has hit that place. minus 2 in warsaw. not quite across western parts of europe. still in a relatively mild air but the wind will start to feel stronger and colder as we go towards the weekend. just a hint briefly of a southerly, maybe just around ireland and the western isles but that is pretty much it. so the temperatures will keep on dropping away by day, by around a degree or so. as we go through the weekend, that high—pressure continues to strengthen and build from russia, and when high—pressure strengthens, the winds around it
strengthen as well and they keep pushing in the colder air, straight out of russia. so the temperatures will keep on dropping away during the course of the weekend. i suspect even those values here are too high, it could be even as low as a couple of degrees above freezing, by sunday, in some major towns and cities. then the high—pressure gets even more intense and, yes, there are snow showers developing. you can see those blobs of white effecting almost any part of the country. so the big freeze is on the way, it is just too early to say where the coldest of the air is going to go. it could actually sink towards more southern parts of europe and into france, or it could go straight over us, or, as we have been talking in the last two days, it could engulf the whole of europe. so for now, we do know that it is going to be cold next week with widespread frost, possibly by day as well, a bitter wind and snow for sure. this is bbc news. the headlines: at a meeting broadcast live from the white house, survivors of school shootings and relatives of victims have told president trump of their pain and anguish — appealing to him
directly to bring in new gun controls. mr trump said he was considering arming teachers and banning gun free zones around schools. with concern growing over the syrian government‘s bombardment of the rebel—held area eastern ghouta, on the outskirts of damascus, diplomats at the un are considering a new attempt at a 30—day ceasefire. it‘s not clear whether russia — a major supporter of the assad government — will veto. a new study from the university of oxford has found that anti—depressa nts are effective. researchers analysed more than five hundred clinical trials and included previously unpublished data held by drug companies. the findings refute recent suggestions that some treatments don‘t work.